WESTERN BALKANS – Celebrated on 5 December every year, the International Volunteer Day raises awareness on the role volunteer’s play in responding to challenges the world is facing. Development of societies in which helping others is a core value is significantly important in crises such as the current one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the ROUTE WB6 project proudly joins the celebration of contribution and impact volunteers make in their communities throughout the Western Balkans, emphasizing the need of volunteering policy reforms across the region aimed at protecting volunteers as well as those organizing volunteering activities.
“The Western Balkans is overwhelmed by positive stories about individuals and groups who have contributed to helping local communities in times of need. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of how interconnected we all are and how the consequences affect us all. Once again, the needs to regulate volunteerism with a clear legal framework that encourages and increases its value and to have a regional perspective in mind have been shown. The ROUTE WB6 project is working on foundations of a regional policy on volunteering that organizations in this project will use as a framework for advocacy efforts on volunteering policy reforms in the Western Balkans. The establishment of a regional volunteer service and implementation of a regional volunteer cross-border program ROUTE WB6 is our priority in 2021. We are confident that we will be able to provide the first ever opportunity for young people of the Western Balkans to volunteer across the region,” ROUTE WB6 Project Coordinator Ms Ines Bulajić stated.
The ROUTE WB6 project aims to promote cross-border long-term and short-term volunteering as a tool that will contribute to reduction of social and ethnic distance among young people in the region as well as to strengthen their prosocial and European values that will lead to reconciliation, stability and prosperity of the region. The project is implemented across the Western Balkans 6 by a consortium led by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) in association with Beyond Barriers, South East European Youth Network, Lens, Youth Cultural Center Bitola, Association for Democratic Prosperity Zid and Young Researchers of Serbia. In December a new partner joined the consortium, the Institute for Development of Youth KULT. The project activities started on 1 January 2019 and will continue until the end of 2021.